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Need a hand? US Army develops 'third arm' for soldiers

25/06/2018
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The US Army is looking to give soldiers an extra arm in the form of a prototype passive support system called Third Arm, which evenly distributes the weight of heavy weapons, allowing troops to use them with greater accuracy and effectiveness.
The Third Arm has been designed to evenly distribute the weight of heavy weapons, allowing troops to use them with greater accuracy and effectiveness.
(Image via US Army).

The Third Arm technology has been developed by engineers at the US Army Research Laboratory and is currently being tested at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Marland. The design has evolved, as early prototypes didn’t allow soldiers to go into the prone position whilst wearing the Third Arm. This latest version appears to have solved the problem as a solder at a recent test wearing the device with an M-4 type weapon was able to dive into a prone position from a sprint.

Providing further information about the Third Arm, mechanical engineer Dan Baechle, said:

“Right now it’s a prototype devices, and it’s a fairly early stage prototype device. It’s been getting a lot of interest higher up in the Army, but also online with some of the stories that have come out. We’re using some of the interest to help motivate further development of the device.”
The Third Arm technology has been developed by engineers at the US Army Research Laboratory.
(Image via US Army).

Baechle also stresses that what you see now, may not be what gets to future soldiers:

“What we have right now is a very specific device, but we can learn from that device. I hope in the future what we’ll end up with is something that will help the solider. Whether or not it’s in the form you see today, that’s less important. Helping the soldier is what I really hope for. I think this year is really going to be a good one and an important one in showing what this device can do.”

The US Army Research Laboratory is part the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operative environments.
Tags: Engineering
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Need a hand? US Army develops 'third arm' for soldiers - Time to read 2 min
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